Dark Elves, The Demon Horde & The Fathomless Pit
The latter days of the elder age and the proceeding period known as the Fall were traumatic for the elven people. The schisms between true elves and dark elves which Miradros had nurtured for centuries came to fruition and the Elder God of Pride split the race in two. Civil war between the elves raged for a thousand years while the Ferendel were paralysed by indecision for as the wisest and most powerful of the elves, none of them had been deaf to the words of the God of Pride. Eventually the deadlock in the Cadre Cadradriel was broken by the mage Alon and his young apprentice Teulthriel, who would later take the name Ulthriel and become leader of his own gilden. Alon discovered that Miradros planned to kill the Mother herself and replace her as the centre of all life effectively gaining the power of life and death over everything on Saas. When this information was disclosed 450 of the 500 members of the Ferendel sided against the God of Pride and the war was resolved spectacularly within a decade which culminated in the destruction of Miradros, the death of his greatest lieutenants and the slaughter of almost two million dark elves.
It was the destruction of Miradros Dal Dakkan (trans. Miradros The Black) that made the current Mortal Age possible. Miradros had been the greatest of the Elder Gods and at the height of his powers he was almost ready to challenge the Mother, so his destruction was not a simple matter, even for the all-powerful Ferendel. Rather than eradicating him the Ferendel shattered his essence and the fragments of his once brilliant star fell to earth and formed the Mortal Gods of Saas, who would later forge the races of men, centaurs, orcs, goblins, lizardmen and many others. The largest of the fragments of the God of Pride contained all his malice, his distilled bitterness, his greed and lust for power, all of the darker aspects of the elf personality concentrated and given divine power. This fragment was utterly evil: the legacy of pride. This shard of the fallen god descended like a meteor and smashed into the easternmost part of the continent of Alanthor where it drove deep into the ground.
The crater formed by the fragment was fifteen miles across and just as deep. From the day of his fall to the present the avatar of Dakkandrek the Black God, the beast of the pit as the fragment became known, has remained at the very bottom of the Fathomless Pit. The dark elves, who numbered only a few thousand where before the civil war they had numbered millions, pursued by their hated enemies, fled to the crater. On the rim of the crater they built the fortress city of Caspari Voddo Macilio (D.Elf, trans=City of Dread Malice) which is still the only Dark Elf city in the world and is second in fortifications only to the dwarven capital of Greathold. And here the dark elves have remained for ten thousand years, twisted by memories of their defeat; a broken and beaten people.
The connection to the Mother which sustains true elves has been severed from the dark elves. The life force of the dark elves is fading, they are no longer truly immortal and as time passes their numbers dwindle as they succumb to the effects of ageing. For the whole of the Mortal Age dark elves have bent their efforts towards the study of necromancy, trying to extend their lives yet further, and have become masters of that blackest magic. Thousands of slaves of every race are brought to Caspari Voddo in chains every year where, if they are lucky, their fate will merely be to toil out their existence in the dark semi-hell of the pit. Those who are less lucky have their souls torn from their bodies to sustain their dark elf captors and through this ritual the victims are transformed into creatures of shadow and hate they become demons. And the fathomless pit has become filled with such creatures, millions of shadowy vile creatures clawing at the roots of the world.
Dark elf society is unlike any other. The dark elves, who are consumed by their belief in their own superiority, perform none of the menial tasks which are common for other races there are no dark elf trades people, no dark elf guards, no dark elf merchants or servitors. Every dark elf, to a greater or lesser extent, enjoys the life of a noble; their economy is founded on slavery which all dark elves see as perfectly acceptable.
Although nobility is universal within dark elf society, it is certainly not a brotherhood of equals. Indeed equality is contrary to everything the dark elves believe. Dark elves are strictly ordered into a system of ranks: these are Citizen (the lowest rank of nobility), Lio (Aspirant), Cree (Apprentice), Fivni (Initiate), Yven (Capable-One), Toja (Instructor), Hebril (Captain), Norje (High Captain), Liu (Master of Aspirants), Creeden (Master of Apprentices), Fivniar (Master of Initiates), Grendahl (Master), Dahl (Lord) and Dan (Supreme Lord). The classes of dark elf society are divided into Vohl (Mages), Rancen (Clerics), Artan (Warriors), Xin (Thieves), Pa-Xin (Assassins), Dinohl (anti-paladins). Dark elves wear their titles like badges and incorporate them into their names. The highest ranking dark elf mage is Siertan Dan Vohl and while the lowest ranking member of the clergy might be NTar Citizen Rancen.
Advancement up the ranking system is strictly regulated. To advance one must have a patron who is two levels higher than your current level effectively this means that each rank promotes people to the rank below them. Because of this, patronage is currency in Caspari Voddo and the favour of a powerful dark elf is worth more than gold. There can only be one Dan at any given time and the six Dans are known collectively as Kiendor (trans. the Council to the Pit). A Dan may appoint any number of Dahls, but selects only six Dahls to form sub-councils who are known as Londor (trans. the Adjunct Councils). Each of the Adjunct Councils elects one of the remaining Dahls (who are not members of an Adjunct Council) to be on Jidor (trans. the Slaver Council). This independent body is responsible for ensuring the supply of slaves to Caspari Voddo is steady and sufficient for all needs. The power of each dark elf is seldom obvious, and political alliances can make a low ranking dark elf much more influential than a higher ranking one, but it is generally accepted that the members of Kiendor and Jidor must have considerable resources to have achieved their positions.
When a Dan dies which is rare, usually they are killed by their underlings (in Caspari Voddo there are no crimes and each individual lives only by their strength and the strength of their allies) his replacement is appointed from the Dahls by the Black God himself. Such an appointment is lengthy and bloody and before a new Dan has ascended as many as a hundred thousand slaves may have died on the sacrificial altars. While being a Dan carries with it great power it usually incurs a reduction in lifespan few Dans hold their office for more than seven hundred years and the longest reigning Dan is Chidan Dan Pa-Xin, the arch assassin, who has retained his position for nearly two millennia and has put more than a hundred upstart Dahls in their graves.
Creating A Dark Elf
All characters on Saas have their abilities determined by a points system rather than dice rolling. Dark elves have remarkable attributes in every area and so have 95 points to spend, but their final scores must be within these limits, and the normal racial modifiers do not apply to this system. Dark elves may be mages, clerics, warriors, thieves, assassins or anti-paladins. Dark elves are not allowed to multi-class or dual class. Dark elves are always Neutral Evil in alignment.
Attribute: Min / Max
STR: 9 / 19
DEX: 9 / 19
CON: 9 / 19
WIS: 9 / 19
INT: 9 / 19
CHA: 19 / 19
Dark elves have the following special abilities.
Long Lives: Dark elves, unlike true elves, can die of old age. The longest a dark elf may naturally live is 1000 years, but dark elves have become masters of rejuvenation and several have exceeded this age ten times over. Dark elves cannot be resurrected once they die.
Elven Aura: A dark elfs charisma has a minimum rating of 19. Despite being severed from the link with the Mother, dark elves maintain an aura of dark magnificence which is undeniably charismatic and powerful.
Magical Vision & Spirit: Dark elves do not need light to see, they can see equally well in bright light and magical darkness. They are unaffected by spells which obstruct vision such as a light spell cast upon their eyes, but can be rendered blind by other spells or by normal means such as blindfolding or eye removal. Dark elves are immune to all charm effects, all illusion spells (though magic which can still cause damage even when successfully disbelieved damages them normally) and all mind affecting spells including Magic Jar and Trap the Soul.
Powerful Necromancers: Dark elf mages are experts in the school of necromancy. All mages receive double the standard specialization bonus to necromantic spells so they have a 30% bonus to learn necromantic spells, +2 save against necromantic spells, 2 automatic necromancy spells per spell level etc. Plus they gain 2 bonus necromantic spells rather than 1 for every spell level they can cast. They receive no penalties for casting in other schools.
Non-Vital Race: Dark elves are not a vital race. They require an enchanted band of metal known as a Zhaban (trans. Soul Ring) which replaces the material components worth less than 100gp for all their spells and can be in the form of a ring, earring, bracelet, necklace or even a crown, depending on the wearers whim the Zhaban changes size, but remains in appearance an unadorned grey metal ring.
Demons stats vary massively from minor spirits with 1 in all stats which are indistinguishable from shadows and merely cause mischief, to enormous demon lords the size of giants which may have genius level intelligence and strength and constitution scores as high as 23. These demon lords are deadly foes which can slay armies and are immune to all but the strongest magical weapons. Proximity to vital races causes pain to demons for every full turn a demon spends within 10 of a vital creature it sustains 1 point of damage. This damage is cumulative, so spending a round within 10 of 5 vital creatures causes 5 hit points of damage.